This column will deal with sports, athletes, and referees. While watching a playoff game between Oklahoma and Houston I was treated to on the final possession of a tied game to a blatant offensive foul. A foul that was not called, a rule that was voided and yet all the sportscaster and talking heads approved of, this no call. What!? A blatant and obvious foul not called and this was considered good officiating? Then later this weekend watching others games and other sports things got worse and worse. Basketball used to have something called a dribble. Today there is carrying and palming on almost every play, and no whistle. In basketball you are allowed two steps without a dribble, one step, two steps, and stop. Try again today the players can start that third step and not be called until the foot hits the ground. That isn’t even the worst of it; if you are a superstar then the rules do not even apply to you. So basketball is questionable what of football, NFL football? Currently the rules are written to protect the certain players; quarterbacks; and give major advantages to the offensive team. If I wanted to watch arena football I would. Instead give me the old style NFL football where the teams were evenly matched. An honest 10-9 score is more impressive than a 37-24 pinball game that screams tilt! Wait, what about baseball? Well this weekend there was a beautiful pitch straight down the middle, an obvious strike, and the call … a ball. Mistakes happen right, but then the umpire started talking to the pitcher and things went south from there. So the three major sports all have problems with referees who seem to have forgotten their job. Superstars who feel entitled, who feel coddled, who are overpaid, who feel that the rules do not apply to them, and these are our role models. Sports casters who allow this and columnists who do not cry out are all contributors to the problem. Why is this important? Well as a society we are judged by how we treat people and solve problems. So many problems so little time, so what are the answers to these problems?

First, the rules of the game should apply to each and everyone in any sport. From rookie, to journeyman, to star, to superstar, the rules must apply to each equally, and from the start of the game until the end. No special consideration for the player or time of the game. A foul is a foul, a violation a violation, and a no call is cheating. Second referees are the sports arbitrators, not the stars. Referees who cannot understand this should be fired and replaced by others who do understand this. When referees have a history with players then they should not work the games or series where these players compete. Third the salaries of players need to be reined in. Really how can you justify paying someone twenty million a year to play a game? Teachers scrape by, the military depends on base housing, commissary, and fully covered medical. First responders must work extra shifts, or a second job?! Talk about one percenters start with the pampered and overpaid athletes. This means there should be a fixed salary cap in each sport with both a minimal and maximum salary based on years and importance. Fourth stadiums are the teams’ responsibility not the city or state’s job. With all the needs of our cities why should stadiums be their responsibility? Education, law enforcement, emergency services, and other needs yes, stadiums no. Fifth the rules of a sport should have two purposes, one to ensure players’ safety, and two a level playing field between offense and defense. Sixth fair and equal revenue sharing between teams, merchandising is a separate issue and should belong to the team. Also the league of each sport needs to deal with retirement and health issues for all players. Well that’s it for this week so until later may you have fair winds and a following sea.

ROY POKLADNIK, is a teacher and problem solver welcomes comments and suggestions for topics . He may be reached at :

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